Thanks to investments in data analytics and the abundance of unstructured data from social media, insurers are no longer suffering from a lack of data—they’re suffering from a lack of the right data. Getting the right data requires a fundamental shift in design philosophy for how new applications are built and existing applications are configured.

Digital insurers of tomorrow will have to design applications to explicitly capture the specific data needed. They’ll also need to update user interfaces to get new pieces of data and add data collection as a new set of requirements within the software procurement process. To make the most of these applications, insurers will need to shift their thinking.

Designing for analytics

Insurers must take an enterprise-wide view of collecting data rather than leveraging it in a functional, siloed manner. The process to move from a “data warehouse” to a “data supply chain” can look like this:

  • Build your data catalog, identifying what data you have.
  • Determine your in-flight analytics projects and what questions these projects are trying to answer.
  • Prioritize the existing strategic questions your organization is working on.
  • Catalog new data sources needed to fill in critical missing data elements.
  • Tap the new data sources where they fill identified data gaps.
  • Define the required skills and experience needed to create data champions across the organization.

A supply-chain approach to data can help insurers generate meaningful returns on their applications investments, while providing answers to strategic questions. If you subscribe to Best’s Review, read “Tackling Big Data” where I examine this topic in more detail.

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